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The Net Generation and the Eight NetGen Norms

In the book by Don Tapscott, Grown Up Digital, he discusses the 8 Net Gen Norms. These 'norms' are the differences Don has found, through discussions with 300 + young people and also found through the global nGenera survey of 6,000 Net Geners. These "norms" are, ".....distinctive attitudinal and behavioural characteristics that differentiate this generation from their baby-boom parents and other generations" (pg.74)

The 8 norms are:
1) Freedom, 2) Customization 3) Scrutiny 4) Integrity 5) Collaboration 6) Entertainment 7) Speed and 8) Innovation
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Here is a very brief summary of each norm, as discussed by Don Tapscott in his book.

1) Freedom
From freedom of choice to freedom of expression, "Choice is like oxygen to them" (pg 34)
"The Internet has given them the freedom to choose what to buy, where to work, when to do things like buy a book or talk to friends and even who they want to be" (pg 75). Choice is not confusing, the Internet is used to make informed decisions about what to buy, where to go, how to get there. They expect the freedom to choose where and when to work, and not be constrained by office hours.

2) Customization
This generation changes everything in the "world around them - their desktop, Web site, ring tone, handle, screen-saver, news sources, and entertainment." (pg 34) They want personalized experiences, "..the potential to personalize a product is important to the net Generation, even if the individual decides not to make any changes" (pg 79)

3) Scrutiny
"Businesses targeting NetGen should expect and welcome intense scrutiny of its products, promotional efforts, and their corporate practices." (pg 35) "Today's youth have the ability to distinguish between fact and fiction" pg 80
Net Geners are skeptical when online and know how to use the Internet to find information. They expect consumer information online that helps them decide what to purchase. However, in contrast, "Many Net Geners still don't realize that the private information they disclose on social networking sites like Facebook may come back to bite them when they apply for a big job......" pg 82

4) Integrity
Integrity says that "technologies strip away the barriers between companies and their various constituencies" likewise, integrity / Digital citizenship means that NetGen expects an ethical use of this tool not only by their school/ company/ organization but each other. Net Geners care about honesty and can "....use the Internet to find out and then use social communities like Facebook to tell all their friends" (pg 85). However, statistically more than 50% of Net Geners have downloaded illegal material, but do not see this as illegal or justify it on some other way.

5) Collaboration
Today's NetGen "influence each other through what we call N-fluence Networks - online networks of NetGeners who, among other things, discuss brands, companies, products, and services." (pg 89) They are natural collaborators and "..want to work hand-in-hand with companies to create better goods and services" (pg 89) The new generation of collaboration tools allow a new form of teamwork and cooperation, and collaboration on an international scale.

6) Entertainment
"This generation brings a playful mentality to work...and has been bred on interactive experiences." (pg 35) Net Geners expect to have work that is satisfying and emotionally fulfilling, and will expect to be able to play online games as a stress-break while at work. This has implications for policies and guidelines for working conditions.

7) Speed
NetGeners "expect a quick response" (pg 36) in their world which speed "characterizes the flow of information." (pg 35) This has implications for how technology is used to improve the speed at which NetGen learners access other students, their teachers, and their organizations and how it changes the way educators and students live their lives.

8) Innovation
The Net Generation expects innovation and improvement of the efficiency of organizations "they are constantly looking for innovative ways to collaborate, entertain themselves, learn, and work." (pg 36) They have been "...raised in a culture of invention." (pg 95).

The Eight NetGen Norms excerpt from Grown Up Digital


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  3. What has this got to do with fostering a digital learning environment?